Name: Sushil Chaudhary
Title: Founder and CEO
Organisation: Picturetime DigiPlex pvt ltd
Sushil Chaudhary is an entrepreneur and an innovator. He is the founder of Picture Time. Chaudhary is responsible for coming up with the world’s first state-of-the-art mobile digital movie theatre that can be mantled and dismantled in under 3 hours and delivers a cinematic experience equal to any global cinema theatre.
EARLY LIFE :
Chaudhary’s father served in the Indian army, which meant Chaudhary spent his childhood travelling across India to all the cities his father was posted to. Whichever school he went to, Chaudhary did not miss being in the top slot in the class.
He took active interest in sports with hockey being his favourite. He also took to the sports that was the local favourite.
Chaudhary got a natural feel of Northern and Western India in this way. After finishing school he did his Bachelors in Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirapalli in 1997. This way he got to know the culture of Southern India.
After graduation, Chaudhary was keen to implement many of his ideas. To begin with he started his first tech venture, Mann-india Technologies Pvt. Ltd in year 2000. Chaudhary’s company soon had a presence in India, parts of USA, in Latin America where he and his company worked in Panama, Colombia, Puerto Rico , Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba, setting up SAP Centers of excellence in Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The company was responsible for ventures such as Tpago.com – a leading mobile platform for Blanco Popular group (led by Manuel Grulllon )that was launched in the Caribbean Islands and Central America.
Mann-India was subsequently acquired by American company TraQiQ.
Chaudhary was now fully into the world of technology and his next question was how it can be brought into areas of direct benefit to the rural people of India. He came up with an innovative idea of taking the cinematic experience to the people. It may surprising for most of us to know that there are more than 2500 towns ( with the population of 100,00 people ) in India which do not have cinema theatres.
Wondering about the paucity of cinema screens in the sub-continent due to high property prices and extensive regulations, which were ‘very silly reasons’ according to him, Chaudhary envisioned a solution that would eradicate these problems in the form of a travelling / portable cinema and started Picture Time in 2015, and build a product called MDMT ( patent granted ). Chaudhary is responsible for taking the state of the art cinematic experience to many rural people to the cinema for the first time. One example is in Ladakh, where its people saw a cinema for the first time when he launched Picture Time in Leh with the Bollywood movies ‘Bell Bottom’ and ’83 in 2021 along with other regional films. The feat received recognition: Picture Time’s MDMT (mobile digital movie theatre) is listed as the world’s highest cinema situated at approximately 11,500 feet (3,500) metres above sea level and has been marked in the Pratishtha World Records for the same.
Chaudhary’s vision of delivering cinema in the form of 3,000 screens over the next decade, according to him, has multiple advantages: allowing everyone to have the same cinematic experience or as his company’s motto runs ‘ Sab Ka Haq’, allowing governments and public bodies to advertise and promote culture, educational opportunities and advertising. As an aside,
during the lockdown, Chaudhary’s mobile digital movie theatre, helped several girls write their final examination from their homes at the request of the Collector of the District.
In an exclusive interview with The Economist, Chaudhary has argued that 3,000 hundred-seater screens selling tickets for INR 70 to INR 140 and operating at just 30% capacity can potentially add as much as $122m to India’s annual box-office collections. Currently, Chaudhary’s innovation has reached over 600 cities with 25 digiplexes and features 50+ brand partners.
During the first and second wave of the pandemic, the mobile infrastructure also doubled up as a make-shift hospital, and was supported by Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.
In May 2022, Chaudhary tied up with the Indian Army in Ladakh to bring Ladakh’s first International Music Festival, a four-day event that was held in Leh’s Sonam Wangchuk Stadium and brought together national and local talent, all performing in honour of the soldiers who fought and continue to fight at Rezang La, Ladakh.
PERSONAL LIFE :
Chaudhary is married to Lathika Regunathan, the Founder and CEO of MIMO Technlogies, a unique platform that facilitates enterprises to offer their services to rural India and trains semi-urban and rural youth to avail potential employment opportunities. An ex executive director at Chaudhary’s first venture, Mann-India Technologies Pvt Ltd, she holds a master’s and bachelor’s degree in sociology from Delhi School of Economics and Lady Shriram College, Delhi respectively.
They have two daughters and currently reside in New Delhi.
Chaudhary has zest for life. He loves to learn and explore new ideas and places. He is a movie buff. He is a keen runner and enjoys playing many sports like golf and cricket. Chaudhary is an animal lover. His Golden Retreiver, Milo, topping the list.
SUSHIL CHAUDHARY’S BRAINCHILD ‘PICTURETIME’ MAKING HEADLINES ACROSS NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL PLATFORMS
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Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Sushil's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Being a leader is tough. You need to stay disciplined, keep your focus, and think clearly. The hardest part is staying on course when there’s so much information that can distract you and cause confusion. Staying clear-headed is key.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Reflecting on the dawn of the new millennium, I recognized a deeper calling beyond the routine grind for a paycheck. This insight fueled my leap into entrepreneurship, uncharted but resolute. In a swift 12 days, my friends and I established a company, starting a 23-year adventure filled with global travels, diverse experiences, and pure joy. My work-life balance philosophy is straightforward: find pleasure in work, maintain health, and cherish simple daily victories. Adventure and fun are woven into my everyday, taking life’s ups and downs in stride.
Leadership taught me the limitations of consensus; not everyone is cut out for a shared vision. I measure success by my own yardsticks, not against others. Picturetime came to life to revolutionize India’s film industry, facing the stark reality of its screen shortage and the tight grip of a few powerful players.
Now, I’m on a mission to make entertainment a fundamental right. My aim is to erect 3,000 cloud-connected screens throughout India, forging a direct link between filmmakers and audiences and revolutionizing monetization. This bold endeavor mirrors the country’s cinematic fervor and the happiness it engenders.
My life’s mantra? Live fully, laugh heartily, and seize each day with gusto.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Success comes from sticking to a daily routine, even when you travel a lot. Keeping this routine is the key to being happy. Every night, I think about if I’ve done my daily tasks. Every morning, I wake up to see my family’s smiles, which is a great start.
I take care of myself first thing, then I get to work early, spending the first two hours on my own goals. After that, it’s all about what the company and my ecosystem needs.
Daily routine is my bible to live life.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Be approachable and open to new ideas is very essential.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The “Bhagavad Gita” has profoundly shaped my leadership approach.
This book teaches that life is the collective outcome of the choices we make at crucial moments. It instilled in me the importance of clear decision-making aligned with a sense of purpose. By applying its principles, I’ve found peace in the decisions I make.
Once, I faced a dilemma between valuing friendship and what was right for the company. For years, I erred on the side of personal bonds, but the “Gita’s” wisdom on karma and duty provided me with the clarity to choose the right path, ultimately guiding me to make decisions that are just and beneficial for the greater good.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Act with righteous virtue, be generous in kindness, and ensure your choices support the well-being of all.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I was in a South American country launching our new business when one of my employees betrayed us. He teamed up with a local thug to intimidate my business partner. This thug, a big, rough-looking guy, confronted me in a restaurant, slamming his gun on the table and threatening me. Without flinching, I took his gun, emptied it, and told him in that a gun is not for threatening but for action and I walked out. Man never dared to confront me ever.
I learned that true courage is the most powerful defence you can have.
Later, as I was walking home, I heard someone call out ‘bhaiya’ — it was two young men, duped by an immigration scam, penniless and stranded. They had no skills and no way back to India since they’d entered the country illegally. Our embassy won’t support them. I took them to
My place and taught them how to make samosas, which we introduced to a local restaurant. The dish was a hit, and they earned enough to buy tickets home. Despite the chance to stay and keep earning, I urged them to return to India and further their education. One of them kept in touch, and he’s now doing well for himself overseas, living a happy life.